Learning from lost chances

Today, a dear friend died. 

A friend that I rarely saw. A friend who's house I drove by nearly every weekday for 5 months, but would tell myself "I'm too tired, I'll go by on the weekend", but never did. A friend that made me feel immensely cherished and loved, even when others' actions made me feel unworthy and lost. A friend that considered me dear, despite what had been our original connection being over a decade past it's expiration. A friend that never stopped asking me to come over for a glass of wine and a listen of his harmonica. A friend that graciously waited years, only to see me for a few minutes last weekend. 

I cherish those few minutes. Deeply, deeply cherish them. 

I got a short letter last Friday night. His wife thanked me for the Christmas card I sent, invited me to the annual fundraiser of the charity they had run for years, and told me "Grandpa misses you and thinks you're pretty special". The letter had been delayed by my mail being forwarded, but fortunately arrived the night before the fundraiser. I was nearly two hours late to that event, but I made it. I almost didn't recognize him he was so thin, but his smile and joy of seeing me filled him up. He wrapped the arm of his 6'6" stature and said to his wife, with all the glee he could muster in his obvious weakness, "Look who I found!"

I wouldn't have gotten to say goodbye if I hadn't made it. I wouldn't made it if I hadn't already moved home. I wouldn't have moved home if I hadn't had the awful experience at my last job. I wouldn't have had that job if I hadn't had another life crisis breakdown and crossroads this last summer. I wouldn't have had that breakdown if I was still living the happily married life in Australia that I had predicted. 

I often wonder about the path that has brought me to this moment right now. A lot of sadness, scars and continuing pain goes along with that path, but so many of the most beautiful moments wouldn't have happened without the mistakes and ill-fortune. 

These many moments of loss and feeling lost have broken me: Broken me of the habit of dwelling in the pain

So I've been blessed to have been shoved by grace into the chance to say goodbye. My heart is grieved that I won't see him again in this life, but more so it is feeling joy and relief for a chance not missed and the unfortunate circumstances that gave me that last chance.